It was 22 years ago that Chuck Colson heard about the Christian worldview classes I was teaching in our home with 156 high school seniors in attendance. Many of our students would identify as Christian, but most were raised in Christian homes and had very little understanding about the Christian faith.The vast majority were seeking meaning and direction. We had 11 different high schools represented, 20 small group leaders, and a live feed downstairs with many who were turned away because there was not enough room for more.
I met with Chuck in Indianapolis 21 years ago and we became instant friends because of our shared a passion for worldview discipleship. He wanted to learn more about what and how we were teaching, and why this material was intriguing to teens. The answer was simple: Teens, are starving for a truth about God that is real, honest, life-changing, and brings about hope.
Chuck Colson firmly believed that the churches and believing Christians need to focus on equipping people to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus and then be discipled to understand their faith, get their questions answered, and learn how to live it out to God’s glory. The consequences of churches and Christian parents lack of bringing up young people with a strong faith, has resulted in 90% of self-identified Christians college students walking away from their faith when they graduate, with few returning. The urgency to equip this generation of young people cannot be overstated.
Ten years ago this week, Chuck Colson passed away shortly after he delivered his last speech, “Breaking the Spiral of Silence.” The following is an excerpt from his talk.
“So it comes right back to us. Look in the mirror: That’s where the problem is. And if we can, through the Church, renew the Church too, really bring healthy cultural influence, then there’s some hope that we can be changed. This is a moment when the time is right for a movement of God’s people under the power of the holy spirit to begin to impact the culture we live in. It’s desperately needed. This is why I’ve been spending so much time in recent years teaching biblical worldview because I think that’s at the root of our problems. Once the Church understands worldview, we have to live it, express it, and contend for it.
Otherwise, it’s not going to be. You’ll see that continued deterioration of the culture and all that goes with it. So, I think the responsibility has to be taken by the Church for a movement that will bring back the authority and strength and winsomeness of the Church, which then, in turn, affects the culture.”
How is the Church discipling others and living out their faith? Barna’s stats say we are not doing well. As a result, the culture is failing as Christians ignore the mandate to go and make disciples. Christians must answer the call We all are called to tell people about the gospel, meaning the death and resurrection of Jesus. Second, more importantly, we must disciple both new believers and seekers who have not yet heard the gospel and have not seen it lived out by Christians.
Barna’s article titled, “Two in Five Christians Are Not Engaged in Discipleship,” January 26, 2022, has found: While most Christians experience some form of relational investment in spiritual growth, two in five (39%) aren’t engaged in discipleship at all. Just 28% of Christians are actively involved in a discipleship community. Perhaps this doesn’t surprise you; 56 percent of Christians tell Barna that their spiritual life is entirely private in our increasingly individualized culture. Discipleship is not a one-size-fits-all connection.It consists of getting to know people, engage in teaching them through the scriptures and apologetics, which is learning the defense of the faith. It also includes the Christian worldview, emphasizing how to live out Jesus in all of life and give Him all the glory. It is about doing life with others with open conversations about their faith in Jesus. It is about answering the tough questions of life.
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1Peter 3:15).
The ultimate goal of discipleship is for new believers to become disciple-makers themselves! Making disciples begins with meeting someone who does not know Jesus and His saving grace. It does not stop there. Teaching, listening, praying, and encouraging all lead to Christian growth.
Jesus gave us the great commission not as a suggestion, but as a mandate of what Christians must be about until He returns.
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).